Tracy Duchac Stepping Down at Arizona; Deb Roth Enrolled in Classes

  25 Braden Keith | August 24th, 2012 | College, Featured, News

Arizona assistant Tracy Duchac has stepped down from her role as an assistant after one season with the Wildcats. The newly-married coach is expecting her first child with husband Adam Slusser in December, and the pair will return to Texas where he will pursue professional opportunities as an engineer.

Duchac’s coaching stock skyrocketed early in her career; she was a volunteer assistant coach with Purdue as a 5th-year senior, after completing her eligibility, and was part of the Boilermakers’ run to one of the most successful seasons in school history. She was then snapped up by Texas A&M and coach Steve Bultman as his chief assistant with the Aggies, where that team became a powerhouse and perennial top-10 team.

Last season, when Eric Hansen took over the reigns at Arizona, he brought in Duchac to fill one of his assistant roles. Hansen came from Wisconsin, and with Duchac being a Wisconsin native and a former Big Ten athlete herself, there was a bit of familiarity there. Duchac is best-known for her work with sprinters, which fits her skills as a swimmer (she was the first Purdue woman ever under 23 seconds in the 50 free).

This job, along with assistant coaching positions at Ohio State and Stanford, plus the head coaching job for the Stanford women, are the biggest jobs still on the market, so expect quite a few more dominoes to fall. This late in the season, after most programs have started practice, some of these gigs may be filled from the club ranks as well.

There was some confusion earlier this summer after former Cal All-American Deborah Roth confirmed to us that she would be transferring to Arizona. We have received confirmation from sources close to the program that Roth is, in fact, enrolled in classes at Arizona, but will sit out a year before competing for the Wildcats. That will suit the program just fine, as they will have a much bigger need for a backstroker next season than they will this season, with Lauren Smart having one more year.

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25 Comments on "Tracy Duchac Stepping Down at Arizona; Deb Roth Enrolled in Classes"

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4 years 5 days ago

i don’t like to be sexist, but this is why women shouldn’t have to be given a spot on every team’s roster. how many female coaches have stayed in the sport while raising a family? not very many! i have nothing against women or women coaches or raising a family, but just not in support that programs HAVE to hire a less qualified woman over a male coach.

we will miss Tracy!

4 years 5 days ago

As a male coach looking for a job ….tell me about it!

Chris DeSantis
4 years 5 days ago

Perhaps we should examine how much coaching talent we lose this way. We need to come up with solutions that recruit and retain talented female coaches.

4 years 5 days ago

I’ll bet A&M’s recent successes had a lot to do with Tracy. I also bet Steve Boltman and Eric Hansen would say they did not hire a less qualified coach when choosing Tracy, it just seems unfair to judge the situation when you don’t really know the full story behind it.

I do not argue there a lot more males interested in coaching but there are also a lot more male positions available. Arizona did not have a female on staff while Frank was there so I don’t think Eric was forced to fill a ‘one woman on deck’ quota….

4 years 5 days ago

Arizona had a female diving coach all those years. I agree with Chris, if they have to hire a female coach, let’s see how we can maintain them in the coaching ranks.

4 years 5 days ago

Jeanne Brophy was an assistant for Frank at Arizona. She spent at least 5 seasons with the Wildcats.

John Sampson
4 years 5 days ago

It seems like everyone is leaving….

4 years 5 days ago

Joeb, your demeaning comment touches on absurdity. I am a mother of two daughters and an Asst Coach for a club program, training the senior swimmers, and am one of the final two candidates for an open Asst Coaching position for a college program. The ages of my children are 3 (Aug 2nd) and 19 months. I first stepped on deck when I was pregnant with our first at 6 months, gave birth during the off season, returned for practices 3 weeks later in September, got pregnant again the next May (8 months later) and had my second child at the end of January 2011 – 3 weeks prior to championship season. When I gave birth at that time in January, I had 5 days off before needing to step on deck again to care and prepare my swimmers for their season finales and tend to my duties. 5 days. Would you be ready in 5 days? A little known fact: most companies offer women paid maternity leave for 6 weeks regulated by the government.

Your comment impresses that you believe Duchac was unqualified for the position and now are bashing her (and seemingly other “less qualified” female coaches) for choosing to step away from the deck to raise a family with this sense of “don’t bother if you are going to have kids”.

I have juggled many things in life but none has been more challenging than trying to maintain my responsibilities on deck with those on the homefront. I am also someone who has been attacked because I chose to stay on deck rather than step away to raise my children. You’re right, not many mothers stay on deck, you know why? IT’S HARD and the demands of children take every ounce of energy from you. Add postpartum and you are in a entirely new playing field; add first time motherhood, and it is a mountain. It is harder than I think you sympathize for. I do not feel I even need to go into what postpartum is like and the toll our bodies take during pregnancies, physically and emotionally.

And though you say you don’t like being sexist, you so much as choose to attack a woman for her choice outright on a public bulletin board and came off jealous and angry. I am sure there was diligent thought given to Duchac’s choice that has the best interest of everyone in mind, however none more important than what should reign above them all: FAMILY.

4 years 5 days ago

It is a difficult situation. It has to be frustrating to hire a talented coach and see them leave after a year. When someone leaves for family reasons it is unimpeachable, but here they are, September around the bend, and a big part of their staff is gone. It would certainly make sense that coaches are gunshy to hire women that are married and in their late 20s/early 30s.

That highlights the real problem you and Chris Desantis mention. Why is it so hard to be a mother and a coach? Why is it TOO hard? Can we figure out a way as a sport to make it more compatible? We are losing a lot of coaching talent this way. Tracey didn’t just leave the team, she’s leaving the profession.

4 years 5 days ago

Aren’t there still positions open at Michigan. I don’t remember hearing anything about the 2 assistant positions being filled

Giles Smith
4 years 5 days ago

I have no need to hide behind a username. But Tracy Duchac is a great coach and even better person. She has helped allot with our program and is much more than a female filler hire. We will truly miss Tracy as a men’s and women’s team but we wish her the best in her future endeavors. And I know the entire University of Arizona team agrees with how I feel.

4 years 1 day ago

Giles ,thanks for stepping up and sharing your inside knowledge …good karma and good luck on this swim season for you …

4 years 5 days ago

It is very difficult to be a swim coach & parent -male or female.

If you only want single men & (maybe ) women to coach then admit it.

Then there is a slight problem of …….

In the end another set of parents must trust their child /college swimmer to a set of people. Most parents will feel happier with a coaching set up that reflects social norms not freako world.

4 years 4 days ago

JG hit it right on….this is not a female issue. It is hard to stay in the sport for anyone, especially at the DI level. To be good you need to dedicate your life to it. No other way around it. Not just swimming. Look at Urban Meyer and his “contract with his family” and his health issues from overwork, stress, etc. Such is the price to pay for greatness.

4 years 3 days ago

Show me the NCAA rule that says you have to have a woman on staff.

4 years 3 days ago

A great coach isn’t defined by gender, age, race, religious affiliation or sexual orientation, they are defined by actions. If Tracy is leaving Arizona because she thinks it’s best for her growing family then she’ll be teaching her team one of the most valuable lessons in life–family comes first. That said, I have a feeling we’ll find out the real reason Tracy’s leaving as soon as someone takes the time to ask her.

4 years 3 days ago

Are you implying something is amiss on the pool deck in Tucson???

4 years 12 hours ago

No, I’m implying that Tracy’s motives for resigning are speculation at this point and that the remarks judging her decisions are without merit–for many reasons.

4 years 2 days ago

The article says She is expecting her first child in December and will to return to Texas with her husband where he will pursue professional opportunities as an engineer. It certainly seems like she made a family first decision and is to be congratulated. She will be missed.

J. C.
4 years 18 hours ago

Yes, I hear there is another story, which has nothing to do with her family. Four women swimmers leave, now a coach. What is the common denominator?

4 years 12 hours ago

Great question.

4 years 5 hours ago

J.C. – Now that you point it out. I find it interesting that the women seem to be leaving the program because while at Wisconsin, Eric Hansen seemed to have better results with the women’s program. I wonder what the difference is?

3 years 11 months ago

Since she just took a job at Stanford so much for the time with family excuse

3 years 11 months ago

Yeah for some reason, Eric and the ladies at AZ have struggled?!?!


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Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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